My Cable Bill

on May 26, 2014 by Michael Rupured

The ability to retire a few years earlier than planned has provided an incentive to pay a lot more attention to my monthly bills. Don’t get me wrong. I’ve always been vigilant. But the emphasis has shifted from checking for errors to looking for (painless) ways to cut back.

As they’re based on usage, I expect bills for water and electric to vary. In the past, I’ve been on “the budget plan” with my utilities to spread the cost of high months across the year. Not anymore. Mostly the budget plan kept me from noticing how much setting my thermostat to 68 in July was costing me. Anyway, variability with these kinds of expenses is to be expected.

My cell phone service and my cable and internet access involve a set price for the level of service I’ve selected. In both cases, there are no extras. I don’t exceed my “allowance” on the cell phone and never use Pay-Per-View or other pay services. Even so, each bill is a little bit higher than the one from the previous month. Not much — a dollar or so  — hardly enough to notice.

Dirty rotten bastards.

Bundling is from the devil. Gouge consumers for as much as possible by getting them to pay for a bunch of shit they don’t really want or need. The high tech world is rife with this kind of crap because nobody really understands how the hell it works. Toss around a bunch of abbreviations, acronyms, and number-letter combos and I’m sold.

For those too young to know or too senile to remember, things used to be very different. The telephone company threw in the phone — for FREE! No costly purchase on the front end, no monthly rental charges, and no hidden fees. Unless I placed a call to a number outside the local service area, the bill was the same every month. Same with cable. A box came with the service, which worked fine since most homes only had one television. Yeah. Everybody had to watch the same thing, at the same time, TOGETHER!

When I moved into my current house, I switched from Charter to AT&T Uverse for my cable service and internet access. The special introductory offer included twelve full months with all the bells and whistles for just a few bucks a month. I picked a middle tier. The wireless cable box is great.

The bill went up a dollar or two for twelve months and then, BAM! The introductory offer ran out and I got my first non-discounted bill. OMG! The increase urged me to immediate action. I called and they bumped me up to the top tier plan with even MORE bells and whistles for a little more than I’d been paying under the introductory offer. Sold!

That offer has ended. I just got the non-discounted bill for the top tier of service. HOLY SHIT!

I conducted a thorough needs assessment. Based on my television viewing habits, basic won’t cut the mustard. Life ain’t worth living without A&E, Bravo, and the Food Network. So I dropped down three tiers, added Showtime (I’m addicted to Masters of Sex), and cut my bill in half.

Since I’m in the middle of a special introductory offer for super fast access, I left my internet plan alone. Maybe by the time my bill jumps again, I’ll figure out if paying for more MbPS is worth the cost. I’m probably paying for more speed than I need, but there’s nothing worse than jumpy porn (for research purposes).

When my cable/internet bill jumps again — and it will — I’ll call, and upgrade a higher tier. I’ll continue the process until I reach the top tier again, and then start all over. You do what you gotta do, right?

I’m expecting a shit ton of comments about alternative options for watching television via the Internet. So far, I’m not interested. But word to AT&T — push me too far, and I’m gone.

9 Comments

  1. elizabethnoble19 says:

    Hahhaaa….I had ATT Uverse as well, but only for internet. I dropped my cable 3…maybe 4 years ago now and watch more TV and have access to absolutely EVERYTHING I want to watch. It did take a few one time purchases of extra equipment and learning how to do some things differently. It also take pretty high speed internet, so I switched to Time Warner for better deal and I put my money there. My internet and computers do help me earn extra income, so they’re worth the money spent on them.

    I have paid subscriptions to the big three, Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime, which costs me for a year about what I would pay for about two and half months cable in my area (not the special intro price). The odd show I can’t get there I have found other ways of viewing.

    When the time comes you’re sick of ATT, Time Warner or any of the others wily ways, call me.

    Masters of Sex, huh….must look that up.

    • You’re so much more tech savvy than I am. One of these days I’ll catch up–unless I far too far behind before then! Masters of Sex is about sex researchers Masters and Johnson. Great show with the most clinical treatment of sex you’ll ever see on tv lol

  2. JanetteD says:

    I feel your pain!! We’ve gone the “streaming only” route to cable, and I liked it, however my husband is an avid sports fan and that remains the one segment of broadcasting underserved by streaming. I can only think it’s because of the massive contracts and advertising dollars wrapped up in it. What continues to floor me about many companies is the lack of perks and incentives for loyal customers. I understand introductory pricing to hook you, but what’s to stop you from jumping to a new provider every 2 years? Pretty much nothing.

    • If you cancel, they call you and offer you a super sweet deal. I called my cell phone provider and said I wanted a new phone, for free. They said no, so I switched to a provider who did give me a free phone. My former provider called a week later and offered me a free phone to come back. Too late!

  3. Lexi Ander says:

    We dropped cable and picked up an antenna for the free cable channels, then hooked into netflix and hulu. We may watch things a day later but we don’t have the monster bill. ^_^

  4. elizabethnoble19 says:

    The antenna I bought was from Amazon and I think set me back all of $15. It works great. Newer tvs get so much better reception than what we had even 10 years ago. I did set my bunny ears by a window, the manufacturer suggested that and it does work well.

  5. Verizon’s games are similar. I am just ending my “contract” and the bill will be horrendous this month, I’m sure.I don’t watch much tv, and feel good about just letting it go. Might try local channels with an antenna, but I don’t really know yet. I think I will drop the tv part entirely, frankly. They tried a favorite ploy by “giving” me HBO for free til the middle of June. Crikey. And no, don’t think that’s gonna work. Maybe I’ll ditch the phone, too. I remember the bill that never changed. B****rds.

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